Friday, January 16, 2009

AMD Cuts a Harbinger?

The story

AMD to slash 1,100 jobs, cut executive salaries (Reuters)

has variously been reported as "just a layoff", or, in this headline, layoffs + executive salary cuts. But if you read the article, the salary cuts apply to everyone who survives the layoff. Exempt employees, which includes engineers and other professionals, will get a 10% pay cut.

Ouch! People would prefer a cut to being laid off, but 10% could be quite a challenge for those who've been good consumers and not such good savers. I'm concerned that these measures will become more common as the economy continues to struggle.

As an aside, the article curiously mentions voluntary pay reduction measures for employees outside North America. What's a "voluntary pay reduction"? Does it mean "sacrifice for the greater good", or "volunteer or else something worse might befall you"?

1 comment:

Tommy Kelly said...

John, "voluntary pay reductions" refers to some of the rules in place in Europe that require companies to ask people to go nicely before kicking them out the door. You can't just fire someone in Europe (certainly not if they've worked for you for longer than a year).

For example, to avoid lawsuits it is sometimes necessary to offer "voluntary severance" first, before holding consultations, before finally moving to "involuntary severance". It's a far cry from Texan-style "at will" employment. (In my experience, the Texans have it right.)